The NFL playoffs are in full swing and it is down to just four teams in pursuit of that elusive Super Bowl trophy. BYU alums are littered across the NFL landscape and several participated in the playoffs. Unfortunately, Taysom Hill was not one of them. He was held out of New Orleans’ game against Tampa Bay with an injury and it may have cost the Saints a chance at a Super Bowl.
Daniel Sorensen, S, Kansas City Chiefs
Sorensen already has a nice shiny Super Bowl ring from last season and the Chiefs look to be ready to properly defend their title. Despite a late-game injury to Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs held strong against the Cleveland Browns, much thanks to Sorensen and his comrades.
Sorensen collected six total tackles in the Divisional Round victory, including a hit on Baker Mayfield on a blitz.
The biggest story of perhaps the entire weekend of football was Sorensen’s big hit on Browns receiver Rashard Higgins as he dove for the end zone. Sorensen’s jarring hit at the pylon caused Higgins to lose the ball, which fell out of bounds in the end zone for a touchback, not only preventing a score for Cleveland but also giving the ball back to Kansas City. The hit caused a tsunami of controversy on whether it should have been a penalty on Sorensen for going helmet-to-helmet as well as questioning the future of that rule that a fumble out of the end zone needs to result in the offense losing the ball.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Kansas City’s head coach, BYU alum Andy Reid. He is the mastermind behind KC’s success in the last few years, especially on offense. Mahomes has Reid to thank for some of his big production thus far in his NFL career. Now he is two wins away from back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers
Sorensen is not the only former Cougar headed to Conference Championship weekend. The Packers hosted the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau. BYU’s all-time leading rusher ran 12 times for 65 yards, good enough for 5.4 yards per carry.
He helped the Packers secure a 32-18 victory, sending them to the NFC title game against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Williams is in the midst of the best season of his career since his rookie campaign.
Sione Takitaki, LB, Cleveland Browns
Takitaki squared off against Sorensen’s Chiefs in Kansas City. He had the unenviable task of trying to slow Patrick Mahomes and company. The Browns kept it close, due in part to Mahomes leaving the game early with a concussion. Takitaki did his part with five total tackles in the game.
The Browns eventually lost and were eliminated but Takitaki may have found himself a home and a role in Cleveland at linebacker for years to come.